WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Arcelormittal (SA) v. Saeed Ahmadi
Case No. D2021-2225
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Arcelormittal (SA), Luxembourg, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Saeed Ahmadi, Iran (Islamic Republic of).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <steelmittal.com> is registered with 1API GmbH (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 9, 2021. On July 9, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 12, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on July 12, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 13, 2021.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 14, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 3, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 4, 2021.
The Center appointed Steven A. Maier as the sole panelist in this matter on August 6, 2021. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is incorporated in Luxembourg and is a company specializing in the production of steel throughout the world.
The Complainant is the owner of various trademarks for MITTAL and MITTAL STEEL, including the following by way of example:
- International Trademark number 1198046 for the word mark MITTAL, registered on December 5, 2013 in International Classes 6 and 40, with designations under the Madrid Protocol including Iran (Islamic Republic of).
- European Union Trade Mark number 00423301 for the word mark MITTAL STEEL, registered on March 27, 2006 in International Classes 6 and 40.
The disputed domain name was registered on July 7, 2021.
The disputed domain name does not appear to have resolved to any active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that is the world’s largest steel producer, having made 71.5 million tonnes of crude steel in 2020. It provides evidence of its profile and commercial activities. It refers to its trademark portfolio and also to domain names including <mittalsteel.com> which it registered in 2003 and <mittal-steel.com> which it registered in 2009 and which redirects to its official website.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name, <steelmittal.com>, is confusingly similar to its MITTAL and MITTAL STEEL trademarks. It notes that both these trademarks are included in the disputed domain name in their entirety, although in the latter case the components MITTAL and STEEL are reversed.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. It states that it has never authorized the Respondent to use its MITTAL or MITTAL STEEL trademarks, that the Respondent has not commonly been known by a name corresponding to the disputed domain name and that the Respondent is not making any bona fide commercial use of the disputed domain name, which is inactive.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. It states that its trademarks are distinctive and widely known and that the Respondent can only be assumed to have registered the disputed domain name with knowledge of those marks. The Complainant contends that, while the disputed domain name is currently inactive, it is impossible to conceive of any plausible use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent that would not be illegitimate.
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to succeed in the Complaint, the Complainant is required to show that all three of the elements set out under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are present. Those elements are:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it has registered trademark rights in the marks MITTAL and MITTAL STEEL. The disputed domain name incorporates the mark MITTAL in its entirety, together with the dictionary word “steel”, which does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. The disputed domain name is also identical to the Complainant’s mark MITTAL STEEL, but for the reversal of its two component terms.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to trademarks in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In the view of the Panel, the Complainant’s submissions set out above give rise to a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has not filed a Response in this proceeding and has not submitted any explanation for its registration and use of the disputed domain name, or evidence of rights or legitimate interests on its part in the disputed domain name, whether in the circumstances contemplated by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy or otherwise.
The Panel therefore concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds the Complainant’s trademarks MITTAL and MITTAL STEEL to be distinctive and to be widely known in consequence of the Complainant’s extensive commercial activities worldwide. Based on the nature of the disputed domain name and the Respondent’s lack of any explanation, the Panel can only reasonably infer that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in the knowledge of the Complainant’s trademarks and with the intention of implying a commercial connection or affiliation with them.
Further, the Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission that it is difficult if not impossible to conceive of any legitimate use that the Respondent could make of the disputed domain name. The Panel finds the disputed domain name to be inherently misleading and to represent an impersonation of the Complainant, which leads inevitably to a finding of bad faith. The fact that the disputed domain name has been inactive does not prevent a finding of bad faith in these circumstances (see e.g. Telstra Corp, Inc. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003).
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name, <steelmittal.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Steven A. Maier
Date: August 18, 2021